Now we have "open skies", we will travel
April 5, 2008 7:57 AM   Subscribe

In the US from 24th-31st May, what do we do!

We're two friends from London in our twenties interested in going to music festivals (particularly blues and jazz and possibly country), cultural events (food/drink based, film festivals) and anything else people think will be fun. We have a mid-range budget and don't like camping. We were thinking about going to New York but are open to other cities on either coast. We'd be up for some travelling but obviously can't see everything in a week. Our mighty currency permits us to lavish copious beverages upon those who please us.
posted by jobby to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
I'm not sure what's going on here at the time, but May is prime New York City season. It ought to be just beautiful here, neither too hot nor too cold.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:01 AM on April 5, 2008

Selfishly, I'd say NYC so that you can buy me a strong drink with your strong currency, but if you want to go somewhere else, Spoleto will be happening in Charleston, SC from May 23 - June 8. Charleston is a great town and has nice beaches.
posted by Frank Grimes at 8:15 AM on April 5, 2008

The Carnaval Parade (warning: link contains music) occurs in San Francisco on Sunday, May 25th. It's a South American/Caribbean style Mardi Gras parade (yeah, we're a little different from other people's calendars here), the highlight of a festival that stretches over the whole weekend. Plus, we MeFites of San Francisco love nothing better than to hold a meetup in honor of our out-of-town guests, particularly if they're buying the beer.

On general principals, though, I'd have to second New Orleans. I haven't been there since the hurricane but it sounds like they're open for business again, and they could really use your patronage. If the town is even a fraction of what it used to be, you'll have an amazing time. It will probably be pretty hot and humid but that's an excuse to take it easy, stop frequently for ice cream and lemonade, and save your energy for evenings in the French Quarter partaking of fantastic live music. Preservation Hall (warning: another link with music) is an absolute must if you have even the slightest interest in jazz, blues, Dixieland, or anything along those lines. Go. You'll thank me.
posted by Quietgal at 9:08 AM on April 5, 2008

I'd like to be selfish and suggest my city, but New Orleans needs you more.

And it's an awesome place.
posted by Mick at 9:30 AM on April 5, 2008

Nthing New Orleans. I was just there last weekend and it's such a wonderful city. I'll 2nd Preservation Hall - amazing. You can travel West to Lafayette Louisianna and see really fun regional music at the Blue Moon Saloon and stay at their guest house. The people that run it are great - they can fill you in on the area and give swamp tours I think. Louisiana would be a great place to go. No too expensive and rich rich rich in culture, music, food.
posted by dog food sugar at 9:42 AM on April 5, 2008

If you like blues, jazz and country, do not visit either coast. Visit the middle, since that's where thou shalt find the music you seek.

Instead, and THIS IS A VERY STRONG RECOMMENDATION, fly to Chicago and catch some jazz and blues, then drive south along the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Memphis and Graceland, the Mississippi Delta and Clarksville, and the Louisiana Bayou before ending up in New Orleans where you can do your part to help a wounded city.

Or visit New York and buy me a strong drink.
posted by billtron at 9:42 AM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]

Are they race fans? If so, perhaps a trip to Indianapolis might be nice.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:56 AM on April 5, 2008

Fly into New Orleans. You'll drive by some pretty rough sites on your way downtown, but I think that's part of the experience now. Of course the music is going to be excellent, and the food is not going to be beat anywhere else in the country.

If you do wind up going to St. Louis for musical reasons, take a break from the blues and stop by the City Museum for a whimsical, wonderful grownup/kids playground.
posted by recoveringsophist at 1:11 PM on April 5, 2008

I agree with billtron - stay in the middle. Take the blues highway.
posted by dog food sugar at 1:40 PM on April 5, 2008

Chicago also has a renowned comedy scene. Their improv and comedy is excellent.
posted by WalterMitty at 3:34 PM on April 5, 2008

I second Memphis. I spent three days there and loved it - Graceland, the Smithsonian Rock and Roll museum, The Civil Rights museum in the Lorraine Motel where MLK was assassinated is amazing, Sun Studios, Stax records. Certainly worth a couple days.
posted by brookeb at 8:37 PM on April 5, 2008

I meant Clarksdale, not Clarksville.

And here's a map of the route I would drive if I took the trip. I wish I could go with you.
posted by billtron at 8:10 AM on April 6, 2008

Billtron has excellent advice. you are here for enough time to hit up a few cities and you shouldn't "blow your wad" in just one. Though, if you were to pick one, New Orleans would be a good one. Chicago is always good (I grew up there and live there now and still I discover new things every summer!) and it definitely hits your music itch. Fly direct from LHR to O'Hare since that flight is faster, more available, and cheaper than New Orleans. Rent a car and drive to NOLA after a day or two in Chicago (city center - DO NOT stay near the airport, you will be dramatically and drastically disappointed. If you want specific recommendations for Chicago, message me. have fun in the US - I am currently vacationing in fair London with the reverse currency effect!!
posted by MeetMegan at 1:22 PM on April 7, 2008

Hi guys - thanks for all your help. Jobby and I are flying out today to NYC and then heading down to New Orleans on Wednesday for 3 nights. If you want to claim your free drink drop me a mefi mail and we'll try and sort something out. Thanks Ben
posted by greatneb at 5:01 AM on May 24, 2008

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